Amazon has officially agreed to acquire Twitch in a $970 million cash deal, both parties confirmed on Monday. In a letter to the community, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said the streaming service went with Amazon “because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want us to help us get there faster.” Twitch was previously linked with YouTube, but those negotiations presumably broke down as Amazon came swooping in.
Twitch has grown at a tremendous rate over the past few years, hitting 55 million unique visitors in July and 15 billion minutes of content viewed. The platform regularly hosts big-time gaming tournaments, and the service has recently dabbled in live concerts, giving famous artists a platform they have direct control over. At over 1 million broadcasters, the streaming service has become a hotspot for gamers, publishers, media outlets and more.
Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month—from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old, said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Shear said with amazon’s resources, Twitch will be able to do more for the community. People obviously go to the platform to watch live gaming videos, but there’s a large community that go to hang out. People subscribe to content creators because they want to support each other, while the content creators then reciprocate that support with giveaways and other perks. We started using the platform just a week ago, and love how it allows us to more intimately communicate with viewers.
Twitch originally launched as an offshoot of Justin.tv, but eventually took over as the dominant platform. There doesn’t seem to be any immediate plans to change operations at Twitch, and the platform will presumably operate on its own. But in what way will Twitch do more for the community now that it has been acquired? That remains to be seen. Today’s deal is expected to close in the second half of 2014.